Category Archives: But We’s White Folks . . .

Most of the time, the last 45 years, I have been the only white person in the room. Now that I’m aware of why I have been in that space — it was “Serb” seeking behavior — and am spending as much time as possible being as many rooms full of Serbs as possible I am constantly floored by how similar we are. It’s all the little things, and the big things, and all the things in between. The biggest thing is how we expect the world to treat us, and how we feel about that. And then there are little things that will amaze me in their specificity. . .

How Serbs and Black Americans Are Alike

Okay, so I keep getting this skeptical look on everybody’s face when I say “We’re so alike!” Nobody wants to believe me. How could some obscure Europeans (Serbs) that our very own CIA labeled fascist be like African Americans? That makes no sense. It’s been hard for me to summarize since I’ve observed so many little things and big things and all the things in between. But after several years of careful observation since I found out who I really was and could hang with my own peeps, I’ve narrowed it down to just a few key elements, all of which relate directly to our common histories/experience of the world.

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Green Velvet

city-of-rabI’m reading Rebecca West’s “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.”  She’s considered the leading female intellectual of the first half of the twentieth century writing in the English language.  This was considered her magnum opus.  It’s supposedly a travel log, but it’s really West on the Balkans through the ages.  She loved us. The book’s 1200 pages, but I’ll be sorry when it’s done.

So, the other day I read of her travels to the city of Rab on the Dalmation Coast in 1935.  The first day they arrived they jumped in the ocean and paddled around so that they could take in the view of the town.   She was in raptures.  Built during the Renaissance by the South Slavs, it’s of a piece with other Aegan architecture of the time, and then it’s not.  It’s entirely original, in a sublime way.
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Lords and Peasants, All

Just starting Rebecca West’s chapter on Serbia.  Oh goodie.  It’s starting off better than I’d hoped.  Constantine, who’s really Stanislav kul-vinaver-smallVinaver, Serb poet, is our tour guide.  Brilliant, witty, incessantly chatty, a renowned seducer.  We shall be entertained.  The first memorable phrase he uses in referring to the Serb “lord and peasant.”  That’s not referring to two separate classes, but to the two aspects of the Serbian everyman’s identity.
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